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Former FHS principal Hedgepeth receives honor

Ed Hedgepeth, former Farragut High School principal, attended the faculty and staff breakfast Tuesday, Jan. 4, in the commons expecting to help honor someone else.

He didn’t know his name was on the list of honorees.

The FHS Parent Teacher Student Organization chose to honor Hedgepeth for what he achieved during his 14 years as principal, which concluded at the end of the 2004 school year when he accepted a position in the Knox County Schools Central Office as director of secondary school instruction.

PTSO co president Anita Brittain said, “To thank him for fourteen years as our principal, we are dedicating the newly remodeled flagpole area in his honor. We have a granite plaque with his name on it to ‘carve in stone’ fourteen years of excellent leadership.”

PTSO co president Jocelyn Brodd spoke of some of his past accomplishments while at Farragut, which include: U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School, 1997-98; State Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals; The 1994 Redbook Award (one of the 50 best schools in the nation); president and board member of the Tennessee Association of Secondary School Principals; 1994 president of the Knox County Association of Secondary School Principals and president of the Farragut High School Education Foundation.

Hedgepeth said, “I feel very undeserving of this honor. All the people working together did all the work. I didn’t do much. I am extremely honored and flattered. So many other people, the teachers and staff, deserve the credit. I am very humbled.”

Brittain said, “Mr. Hedgepeth is very modest, which is a nice surprise. So many people loved him as a principal. I’m sad to see him leave before all my children graduated. He was there for both of my boys; he’s the kind of principal who is genuinely there for the students. He was always at the PTSO board meetings, and he was attentive to the PTSO as well as the staff, faculty and students. That’s why we wanted to honor him.”

The landscaping project, built to the right of the front entrance of the school, features two semi-circular brick walls built around the flagpole that double as seating, holding about 75 students. The structure also includes a brick ground design to serve as a walkway and a standing area and to prevent erosion. The area also includes dogwood and cherry trees and shrubs.

FHS principal Mike Reynolds said, “This area was a sore spot you didn’t want to look at; now it will be usable and attractive for years to come.”

Ellen Bundy, former president of the PTSO from 1999-2000, said the students needed a gathering place outside and a more appealing entrance. Brodd said Bundy spearheaded the project, beginning when she was PTSO president and carried through until its completion.

“Ellen made the contacts with the business community for donations, and got the project going,” Brittain said. “She and her husband even contributed from their own landscaping business.”

Bundy said, “The PTSO started five years ago asking what we could do about the area in front of the school. It took us a lot longer to complete than we first expected. But it turned out better than it would have. The project grew over the years to include more people getting involved who contributed more time and money than we originally expected.”

The funds to complete the project in large part were donated by the PTSO, Hedgepeth, the graduating classes of 2003 and 2004 and the FHS National Honor Society, Bundy said.

She said many community individuals and businesses were generous in their donations to the project. FHS graduate Tim McManus, owner of Hardscapes, Etc., provided discounted building materials while Acadia Landscaping owner Phil Bonafacio’s donation covered a major portion of the labor costs. Another FHS graduate, Stuart Row, of Stuart Row Landscapes, created the design at no cost.

Farragut parents Jeff and Donna Jaccard donated the initial excavation, while Farragut Mayor Eddy Ford and FHS parent Bud McKelvey, town of Farragut public works director, donated additional excavation and dirt removal. Vulcan Materials and Twin Lakes Materials donated gravel and sand, while Butler Brothers Trucking delivered the materials.

FHS graduate Kelly Duisen of Tenntex Soils donated topsoil and provided delivery. Natural Gardens of Tennessee donated mulch and the use of a machine, while Westside Nursery donated plant materials and mulch. “It truly was a community effort,” Bundy said.


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